Tillandsia kalmbacheri belongs to the Bromeliaceae family native to Central America and is found Mexico. This epiphyte is well adapted to its rather unique ecological niche, growing attached to the high branches of trees where it receives exposure to the sunlight that the canopy of trees shades from the forest floor below.
The plant is epiphytic, characterized by the presence of conspicuous peltate (leafstalk is connected to the center of the leaf) scales on the leaves and other plant surfaces. The leaves are alternate, parallel-veined, stiffly lorate or strap-shaped, and troughlike, with a pale lilac sheathing base and spiny margins. The flowers are bisexual and actinomorphic. The perianth is in two dissimilar series, each with 3 distinct to basally connate segments. The calyx is green and petaloid. The corolla is bright blue and often the segments bear a pair of basal, sometimes nectariferous scales. The fruit is a berry.
The culture of the tillandsia in a vegetative state is rather easy if the humidity of the atmosphere is high. However the flowering of the plant is more difficult to obtain. Moreover, the plant decays slowly and dies a few years after its flowering. The rejections which appear at the base will flower in their turn a few years later. Recover the rejections when the plant mother is desiccated and place them in small pots.
Hardiness zones: 9-11 (-5øC/25øF, 4øC/40øF) in winter. The tillandsia requires a sharp light in summer and sun in winter. Place it close to a window directed at the west in summer and the south in winter. The ideal temperature in summer is 22 to 24 §C. In winter the temperature can be cooler (18 to 16 §C) but it should not go lower than 13 §C. The tillandsia is demanding on the level of moisture. Keep the water content of the air high. If you do not have a humidifier, regularly vaporize the plant with water at room temperature. If you cultivate it in a pot, place it on a wet gravel bed. Eliminate the yellowed leaves, cut the inflorescence after flowering and vaporize the foliage regularly.
The tillandsia develops few roots. This is why it is often fixed on pieces of wood or plates of bark using wire, with the roots surrounded by foam of sphagnum. Its installation can take place anytime in the year, except during flowering. The tillandsia can also be cultivated out of a pot if the substrate is porous and drains well. In this case, you can use fibers of Osmond, sphagnum moss or sphagnum peat, and pearlite like substrate, and gravel for the bottom of the pot. This plant once out of pot should almost never be repotted.